My entire career I have only taught high school or college students. When I told people I was going to be teaching middle school I heard all sorts of crazy stories – most of them were not good. Almost everyone would say, “Middle school?!?” and look at me like I was crazy. So, I became a bit nervous about what I was getting into. Thankfully, some of my favorite middle school teachers on Twitter keep me encouraged.
So, after finishing my first week of teaching middle school students I found that…
I LOVE THEM!
Before I met them, I just expected them to be smaller versions of high school students. However, upon seeing them, I quickly realized that they were actually larger versions of elementary school students! They seemed so young!
This youthfulness is what I am enjoying the most because here is freshness in their youth. Best of all, they don’t hate math yet! In high school, I usually spent as least my first month trying to win my students over. I worked so hard trying to convince them that math is not big, bad, and boring. Many times I was not entirely successful. Even students I was able to convince would suspiciously look at me like I was trying to “pull one over” on them.
In middle school I have an accepting audience everyday. They have an open attitude and unformed ideas about their math feelings. They also love to participate and just can’t WAIT to tell me the correct answer. They are openly excited when they know the right answer and when they first figure out a new concept. I find this immensely pleasing as their teacher!
The only thing that I didn’t expect was how sensitive they are. They really are larger versions of elementary school students. A low grade on a test, a forgot homework assignment, or a lost worksheet can wreck them. I need to remember this and try to keep my tone light and positive, even when I am disappointed. I don’t want math to be a negative experience for them.
My favorite thing about middle school students is their boundless energy! They are all fired up and so excited about everything! I have always had a ton of extra energy – so this is a good match for me! Just being around them energizes me even more though (I think we are feeding off of each other). Together – I feel like we are just going to make magic this year!
I end this week as the best week that I have had in my entire teaching career. And I owe it all to those magical, marvelous, middle school students. They are just so much fun!